Tim Husbands of Titanic Belfast to take helm at historic Westport House
8 November 2017
The Hughes Group, Westport, Co. Mayo today (Wednesday 8th November) announced the appointment of Tim Husbands MBE as Chief Executive Officer for Westport House and Hotel Westport. Mr Husbands has held the position of Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast (TBL International) since 2011. The attraction was crowned World’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the current World Travel Awards.
Brothers Cathal, Owen and Harry Hughes of The Hughes Group have just completed the acquisition of the historic Westport House and estate from the Browne family. Last week Harry Hughes was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year.
Commenting on the appointment, Owen Hughes (Director, The Hughes Group) said, “This marks the beginning of an exciting new phase for Westport House and Hotel Westport. Tim Husbands brings vast tourism, capital project and industry experience and ability, and is the ideal person to build a leading, recognisable international brand and destination here in Westport. We look forward to working with him”.
Tim Husbands’ previous roles include Managing Director of Belfast’s Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall, Head of City Events and Venues at Belfast City Council and Managing Director of the Riviera Centre in Torquay. In 2014, his services to Economic Development and Tourism were recognised at the highest level when he was awarded an MBE by H.M. The Queen.
Under Mr Husbands’ leadership, Titanic Belfast has established itself on the local, national and international stage. This experience positions him perfectly to develop the Westport tourism businesses which have a development budget of €50 million.
Minister for Rural & Community Development, Michael Ring T.D. stated “I wish to congratulate Tim Husbands MBE on his appointment. He has created an astonishing legacy of success in the north of this island and I look forward to him taking his talent, experience and enthusiasm to the west of Ireland. Through his involvement in Titanic Belfast, he has impacted on the lives and livelihoods of countless local people who have benefitted from the influx of visitors to Belfast and Northern Ireland. Tim’s appointment is an extremely exciting development and I wish Tim and the Hughes family all the very best in the coming years”.
Chief Executive of Mayo County Council Mr Peter Hynes said, “Mayo County Council warmly welcomes the appointment of Mr. Tim Husbands as CEO for Westport House and Hotel Westport. Tim’s unique blend of experience and enthusiasm will be a huge asset in establishing Westport House as a world class visitor destination. Our Tourism Team look forward to working with Tim and all the crew at Westport House and to realising the potential of one of the truly special Irish places, for the benefit of the Town of Westport, the County of Mayo and indeed the entire West of Ireland in the years ahead”.
When completed, Westport House and its 400 acre estate will be a state-of-the-art resort, complete with Museum, Conference Centre and Events Centre. The facility will cater for large and small conferences, large outdoor concerts and other events, and will be tailored as a family-friendly tourist destination. Westport House itself will be developed as a Museum House that can also cater for large, high-end conferences and weddings. Hotel Westport will double in size and other tourist-related facilities will be built using existing older buildings where possible. The objective is to attract one million tourists per annum.
Mr Husbands takes up his new position in February 2018.
Tim Husbands’ Biography
With strong strategic expertise and a proven track-record, Tim has been working in the economic development and tourism industry for over 30 years, initially in London and Edinburgh, then in Belfast and now in Westport, Co. Mayo. He has gained significant experience in launching, delivering and managing signature venues and events alike.
Appointed Chief Executive Officer for Westport House and Hotel Westport in November 2017, Tim is responsible for the management of the businesses and strategic projects, the leadership and direction of the operational teams, overseeing the marketing strategies, the management, and reporting of all financial affairs of the businesses, and meeting the long-term objectives for the business. His aim is to build a leading, recognisable international brand and destination at the historic house and to build visitor numbers to 1 million per annum.
As Chief Executive of TBL International, Tim was responsible for the launch of the world’s largest Titanic experience. With Tim at the helm, the internationally renowned world-class visitor attraction and team has continued to go from strength to strength. It has welcomed close to 3 million visitors from over 145 countries, hosting over 1,000 business and leisure events including the G8 summit reception, the World Police & Fire Games International Conference, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and MTV Sounds, as well as generating over £105million to the wider economy in its first three years of operation.
In the last year alone, TBL International Ltd has successfully added three new venues to its operations portfolio in addition to Titanic Belfast – SS Nomadic (April 2015), the last remaining White Star Line vessel, the Titanic Exhibition Centre (September 2015) and the British Music Experience, Liverpool (April 2016).
Over the past 25 years, Tim has played a significant role in the transformation of Belfast to a confident and vibrant destination of choice for both leisure and business tourists. In roles including Managing Director of Belfast’s Waterfront Hall and the Ulster Hall, Head of City Events and Venues at Belfast City Council, as well as Chief Executive of Titanic Belfast, he has worked at raising Belfast’s profile as a city for events on a national and international stage. In these roles he has been responsible for securing the Tall Ships Festival in 2009 and the MTV Music Awards in 2011.
In 2014Tim’s services to Economic Development and Tourism were recognised at the highest level, when he was awarded an MBE by H.M. The Queen.
Prior to his career in Belfast, Tim was Managing Director of the Riviera Centre in Torquay and concurrently at the English Riviera Conference Bureau, where he was responsible for generating both profile and business for not the only Riviera Centre but for the region as a whole. Previously he managed venues in Blackburn, Folkestone and The Dome in Doncaster, which at the time was the UK’s largest indoor leisure facility with leisure pools, a two level ice rink, health suites, and a concert hall.
Tim also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Visit Belfast Board, is a board member of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), Windsor Park National Stadium and is a member of the Institute of Directors. He also served on the Board of the Tall Ships festival in 2015 and was previously a board member at the MAC, one of Northern Ireland’s leading art venues.